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THE NOT SO GENTLE ART OF SELF SABOTAGE

We smarty-pants creative types, especially those of us with troubled pasts or inherited family patterns of alcoholism and addiction generally master the not so gentle art of self sabotage by our early teens.  We become so “good” at it, it is almost a mercurial part of us.  We are just “those” people, who even though we are generally well liked or even admired by many, we always … and I mean eye-rollingly-jaw-droppingly ALWAYS manage to be that person that stuff happens to!  We attract drama and mayhem into our lives like Miley Cyrus attracts WRECKING BALL parodies, which you can see one of here:

We are the ones at the parties (when we aren’t being poured into taxis early for over indulging), hilariously holding court with tales of our latest mad misadventure. Don’t get me wrong, a little drama is GOOD! Drama can be sexy and empowering and downright gorgeous,  a bit like this picture of the delectable Christina Hendricks:

For both the doer and the viewer, drama of the type I speak can be very compelling.  But it can be oh-so-self-destructive.  In response to my previous post about being a functional alcoholic, one of my longest-serving (you get less for murder – boom boom :-)) friends said ” … sometimes, just sometimes, being your friend means being a little too close to the fire. I have been burned by your brilliance sometimes, but I have never once doubted you.”

What a beautiful and honest compliment, and one that I have only just grown up to accept without going on the defensive.  You may not have doubted me, but I did.  And do.  But I am working on that.

The struggle I have had is that drama very quickly became a retreat from the darker forces in my world growing up, and I developed a self-deprecating boisterous melodramatic flair that I wore as protective armour, a wall to shield me from the chaos and uncertainty of my young life.   The problem with walls or whatever structures our Egos build around our fragile hearts to keep us safe, is that they become such an ingrained part of who we are that we become unable to function without them.  Like any addict, I enjoyed the chaos and drama I created in my life.  I found certainty and security in a life that was never stable.  I attracted people who were more dysfunctional than me, and I tried to fix them.  It was easier and far less scary than fixing me.

I have been very blessed in my life to have had friends of the less dramatic bent, who have willingly and lovingly been my safety net when I have leaped, dove, tumbled, fallen, staggered off the edges of many a cliff.  Don’t get me wrong, I also give myself kudos and credit here, I care too enough about my loved ones to crawl back up said cliff, dragging Ms Ego sulking behind me.  I am learning to care about me.  I have an inner resilience, which when all is said and done, has allowed me to turn the blackest of clouds inside out to reveal some sort of silver lining…

cloud

What motivates an individual to purposely put an invisible, destructive gun to their head, and pull the trigger time and time again?   Over the past few years I have really looked at this in my own life.

I have been on a journey of at times quiet introspection, and at other times, loud painful realisation (anyone reading this who went to Bali with me  this year and watched me burn the crap out of my feet crossing a bed of hot coals, when nobody and I mean NOBODY else in the group did can vouch for me here).

I am at a point in my life where I am owning my drama, and taming Ms Ego.  She can come out to play when I say, but not so much that she protects me by keeping me lonely.  Sure, I have a few messes of my own making to clean up yet, but I am OK with that.  I can own them and stand in my truth.  Up until recently, I truly honestly did not believe I deserved love, happiness, wealth … all of the good stuff.  I chose men who treated me horribly because those choices reinforced my own self-image.   I also treated some good men horribly but that is for a whole different post.

I did not feel that I deserved to be successful, especially as a writer, so therefore I didn’t stretch myself beyond witty Facebook banter and half written novels shoved in the back of drawers, or on computers which crashed because I did not have the temerity to maintain them or back them up … oh the drama!  It was all self-sabotage and no matter how many times people told me they didn’t doubt me, or that I was really good at something, or deserved something, I was happier reinforcing old beliefs and staying slave to drama.

I now realise how good life can be and that the companionship of self-sabotage is truly no companionship at all.  I am bravely carving a new path for myself, and if you want to tag along, I promise not to go too close to the cliff … just enough to see the birds wheeling on the nests below 🙂

One thought on “The not so gentle art of self sabotage

  1. Pingback: The Slow Thaw...

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